The Problem between Our Ears

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Self- perception is based on many things.  It comes from our experiences, our relationships and the input we receive from the world around us.  What we believe about ourselves is not always true, but it is true to us, because that is the reality that we see in our own mind.  What makes a young lady that is bulimic and anorexic to the point that she is skin and bones, continue to believe in her own mind that she is still fat.  It is not a reality issue; it is a perception issue.  As a photographer I have people come in quite often that are very critical of themselves in their images.  They will pick out perceived flaws that no one else would see.  So often our perceptions are formed by the input we get back from the world around us.  We are using that to evaluate if we are acceptable, or smart, or pretty, or successful.  Our dependency upon the world around us to shape our self-perception and values is often what cripples us.  Those we are looking too in shaping our perception are often flawed in their own perceptions so our premise for evaluating our worth based on the input of others is like building a house on sand.  Add to this the condemnation, accusations and the lies of satan, we can get pretty messed up.  The Word tells us that’ faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17).  The way we form a well-rounded perception of ourselves is through the Word of God.  If you are going to believe what somebody says about you, then believe what God says about you, because He doesn’t lie. 

There are a lot of us that are carrying a lot of baggage around with us that is tearing us up and it is destroying our relationships with the people that we care about and that we really love.  Sometimes we don’t even understand why we act and respond the way that we do.  This is where the Lord wants to set us free.  Often it is a lot of these misperceptions that we have formed from past negative experiences that we are using to evaluate our relationships now.  Because of the pain, hurt, abuse or disappointment of past relationships and experiences we allow fear to come in and tell us that our current relationships are going to happen the same way. We become convinced that we are going to get hurt, so we transfer that past negative experience into our present one and start responding defensively to protect ourselves from perceived hurt.  Often we can end up sabotaging a meaningful relationship and even marriage, because of these past experiences that we are bringing into the present.

I don’t pretend to be a psychiatrist, but the thing that is going to set us free is when we recognize that our values and perceptions are often warped.  We need a plumb line so that we can establish values and perception that are based on truth and not on a lie.  It is the Word of God that is that plumb line for us.  We have to align ourselves with what God thinks of us and what His values are for us.  Many of us need to really ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and reveal where our values are distorted and wrong.  Sometimes we need to look back at our past to honestly evaluate where certain values and feelings about things were formed.  As the Holy Spirit reveals these things then we can give those issues and perceptions to Him and ask for the Lord’s healing and change in those areas. 

You see, it is not the outward that is really you.  We can outwardly act many different ways.  The true man is as he thinks he is in his heart.  Heart change comes from a heart relationship with the Lord.  He wants to make you and your relationships whole and healthy.  He wants to give right perspective and the perception of who He says you are.  He probably has a much higher opinion of you than you have of yourself.  He values you and He wants you to be able value yourself based on what He is and is becoming within you.  Allow Him the place and open up your heart so that He can come in and begin to heal you and make you whole again.  Feed on what God has to say to you through His Word rather than what others say to you or about you.  Start responding to what the Word says rather than to feelings and emotions that surface in certain situations.  He can give us the balance we need in our lives and He alone can fix that problem we have between our ears.

 

Blessingd,

#kent

Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Tell Them I Am Coming!

August 14, 2017

Tell Them I Am Coming!

2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We experience tribulations and trials to varying degrees, but we see a level of persecution in the early church that most of us have not yet seen, nor do we hope too.  The truth of the matter is that when the body of Christ begins to move into her position of authority and begins to quit playing church and starts to fulfill her destiny being the church, she will meet again with tremendous opposition.  Currently, in this time and in this nation we see the church sometimes mocked and taunted, but with relatively little true persecution.  Maybe that is because we are viewed as just being another religious form of the world. 

When the church truly awakens and comes out of her slumber the door of true persecution will again be opened.  The reason is because there will be an increased polarization of good and evil.  Today we, the Church, live largely in a place of compromise where our values are not viewed so differently than the world.  Many live together outside of marriage, our divorce rate isn’t any better than that of the world, our integrity is often viewed as less than the world’s and we just project a form of godliness, but too many times with no substance. There is not the action of distinction that sets us apart from the world we live in, so our power and life has been neutralized.  We don’t really offer that much of a threat to the enemy, so why should there be much persecution.  We are often mocked by the world for the hypocrisy that they see in our midst when they see sin revealed and even some of our most prominent leaders fall.  Slowly, but surely we see the darkness overtaking our land as God is removed farther and father from our government and public life.  What we will soon wake up too is a very hostile foe, especially when we begin to stand in who we are in Christ. 

Persecution and tribulation is often a sieve that sifts and strains out those who are fair weather Christians who follow Christ just for convenience and blessing from those who are truly committed to Christ in life and in death. 

The Word teaches us that Christ is coming to be glorified in His saints and if we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him.  Many of us have the concept that when things start getting rough and nasty for Christianity, the Lord will come and rescue us out and take us away to glory.  As I read the Word, I see the pattern being that God will take His people through the fire, but He doesn’t necessarily rescue them out of it. 

The exhortation and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians was that they were to be commended for their faithfulness in the midst of the tribulation that they endured.  They continued steadfast and it was their love and charity they had for one another that they were known by.  The Lord is coming soon, but are we the people of God that the Thessalonians were, that are patient and faithful in the midst of great tribulation?  The Lord is giving us many exhortations and warnings to prepare our hearts for the time of His presence.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says, “1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  Regardless of your theology concerning the Lord’s coming, if you are missing the Lord warning and telling you to prepare your heart and come into intimate relationship with Him you are missing the coming of Christ.  We are being called to prepare the temple for the full habitation of the King of Glory.  The Lord is coming.  Stand steadfast and rock solid in your faith, because it will most likely be shaken first.

 

Blessings,

#kent

A Healthy Spirit

July 20, 2017

 

A Healthy Spirit

Proverbs 18:14

A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

The true life of an individual is contained in their spirit.  The spirit is the center of hope, faith and the reason for living.  A healthy spirit is one that is broken and contrite before God, but whole and mighty concerning the adversities and trials of life. 

Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  The full humility and submission of our spirit toward the Lord is the sacrifice that He will not despise.  In that condition we are in alignment and submission to His will and purpose in our lives.  We have positioned ourselves to be reliant upon His strength and live out of the hope and faith we have in Him.  

On the other hand there is a broken spirit that is not good and is the most detrimental to our health and our life.  Psalms 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  A merry and joyful heart is like a medicine.  It proceeds out of a spirit and heart that is rejoicing and has found joy in the Lord in spite of circumstances that might dictate that it feels to the contrary.  That joy and merriment is an expression of faith, not necessarily of feelings, because our heart has its hope and confidence in the Lord.  Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”  We can go through almost anything as long as spirit is healthy and our hope and confidence remain in the Lord.  Our greatest danger, even over physical or mental illness is when our spirit becomes unhealthy and broken.  Our spirit is our lifeline to God.  It is the medium by which we communicate and maintain relationship with the Almighty.  When our spirit becomes broken then the physical man will dry up as well.  The power cord of our life is maintained through our spirit.  When the conduit and conductor of our life becomes interrupted or broken then we are running on batteries and true life is ebbing away.  It is through our spirit that faith is generated and hope is maintained.  There are times in our lives that circumstances can be so overwhelming that our spirit can be crushed with grief and despair.  We can lose our hope and even our desire to live ceases.  What strikes me in Proverbs 18 is that it is our spirit that sustains us in sickness.  There are many trials in life, including sickness, that can come in like a flood and overwhelm us with a sense of hopelessness and despondency. 

I am reminded of the disciples who were crossing the Sea of Galilee when they were caught up in a terrible storm that threatened their very lives, while Jesus lie sleeping in the bottom of the boat.  They had come to the end of themselves and hope was leaving them when they awoke Jesus.  Luke 8: 24-25 says, “And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”  When our spirit becomes broken our faith leaves us.  When we lose faith, we lose hope.  Faith and Hope are always right there in the boat with us in the person of Christ.  He says He will never leave us or forsake us, but He doesn’t tell us that we won’t feel that way.  That is how the disciples felt in that storm.  They felt helpless, afraid and were losing hope when all the while the Author of Life itself was resting in the hull of their boat.  Is any storm or adversity in life greater than He who is the Lord and Master over the winds and the water?  If we perish, we perish, but we must never allow our spirit to remain broken.  When life is overwhelming and it feels as if all hope is gone, allow your spirit to crawl up in DADDY’s lap, hold fast to Him with all of the strength of your being until your storm passes over. 

Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  Allow the name of the Lord to be the strong tower that protects your spirit from becoming broken.  It is your steadfast faith in Him that will keep your spirit from being broken in those most difficult of times.   Remember what Colossians 3:3 says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  You have already died to this outward life, so don’t allow it to rob you of the inward life that is hid with Christ in God.  Maintain a healthy spirit that you might live in hope and in faith.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Spirit that Sets Men Free

Mark 5:1-20

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Here is the account of a man so possessed of unclean spirits that he was no longer his own.  It is obvious from the story that the man didn’t have the goods or the means to contain or control this unclean spirit.  They had tried to chain him and control him, but no man could control or tame Him.  He had become no more than a puppet controlled and tormented by the spirits that inhabited him.  How he must have longed for deliverance and no doubt cried out to God for it.  One day the prayers and the cries of that captive spirit were answered.  Jesus showed up at his front door among the tombs and the dead things.   This man lived in death and death surrounded him.  I believe it was the spirit in the man that ran to worship Jesus.  Here was the deliverer who could deliver him from his tormented state.  I believe the unclean spirits would have ran from Jesus, but here at last was the answer he had cried out for.  Does it not seem strange that Jesus just happened to pick this destination to go to this day?  Was it not the tormented cries of the man’s heart that brought Him there?  This man was the extreme case of demonic possession, a man filled with an army of demons.  One word spoken by Jesus brought these unclean spirits to their knees.  His presence brought them to cry out, for His very presence was their torment and caused them to quake with fear. 

Such is the One that abides in you and I.  When it is the Christ in us that speaks forth an anointed word, then hell and the devil are helpless to stop it.  Jesus showed even a measure of mercy to the unclean spirits by allowing them to go into the swine. 

Jesus brought hope, deliverance and salvation into a man’s life and situation where a moment before there had only been despair.  He is still doing that today and often times, those of us with surrendered hearts and the sensitivity to hear His voice might be the channels He would use to touch some life and bring the miracle that they so desperately need and are crying out for.  Where would He take your life today and how would He use you to bring the spirits of men together with the Spirit of God?  Jesus came to set the captive free.  It is His Spirit that He desires to unite us too and all others must be cast out.  He wants to give us back a right mind, even the mind of Christ.  He wants us to take the good news of what He has done for us and share it with others.  Go forth and bring to others the deliverance of His salvation and the good tidings of peace and joy.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Antidote for Fear

May 30, 2017

 

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears.  Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world.  It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word. 

The only one that God wants us to fear is Him.  When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit.   Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.  

When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith.  Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love.  His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love.  In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.

Why?

Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear.  In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him.  He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion.  If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.  

Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ.  When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.  

Why?

Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God.  His perfect love casts out fear.  Our lives are His.  Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?  

“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus.  We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned.  When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation.  In that salvation is the revelation of God’s holy and insurmountable love for us.  For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us. 

When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him.  He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above.  When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us.  Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men.  When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love.  “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,

#lemt

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing the consequences of sin will follow us. 

What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these.  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will loose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.

Blessings,

#kent

May 3, 2017

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The Beautiful Face of Death

The subtlety of the serpent is to hide the sting of death behind the strong desire that is created in our hearts.  The deception is that it will give us pleasure and fulfillment without consequences.  Temptation is a kin to delusion.  It creates a false sense that the moment is all that matters.  It skews our vision and intoxicates our reason so that we will dismiss the truth to embrace the lie.  It often twists the truth and charades piety to give validity to our temptation.  It comes speaking to us softly, enticingly, stirring our imagination and enhancing our desire.  Our desire will then give way to sin which ultimately results in death.  James 1:13-15 says it plainly, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  None of us, not even Jesus was beyond the place of temptation.   The place of temptation is the place of decision to obey the truth or embrace the lie.  Temptation is like Potiphar’s wife who tempted Joseph to have relations with her.  It is better to flee with loss than to fall into the clutches of death. 

We need only look back at the bones and strewn remains of once great men who gave way to temptation.   She will promise to love you only to pierce you through and mock you as you die.  She is deceitfully beautiful, but it is as Proverbs 7:23-27 puts it, “Now then, my sons, listen to me;

pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.

26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Blessings,

#kent

Jeremiah 23:1-7

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2  Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,

       “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,

       a King who will reign wisely

       and do what is just and right in the land.

6 In his days Judah will be saved

       and Israel will live in safety.

       This is the name by which he will be called:

       The LORD Our Righteousness.

7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

A Call to the Scattered

What we are reading in Jeremiah is a prophetic word that is coming to pass in this day.  Many of us may see this applying to natural Israel, but as things are seen in the natural so are they in  the spirit.  Spiritual Israel and her descendants are being gathered are being gathered out of captivity and displacement and put back into their place in Christ Jesus. 

Roman 2:28-29 says, ” A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”  Just as God speaks to the natural Jew, He speaks to the spiritual Jew.  Many of God’s Jews of the Spirit have been displaced by wicked and unscrupulous men who have sought their own gain at the expense of the God’s precious flock.  As a result these shepherds have destroyed and scattered God’s people throughout the land.  They have driven them away from the Lord because they have represented the Righteous One in their wickedness and selfishness.  Many are out in the fields of the world, wandering, lost, separated, wounded and hurt.  They have become fearful and avoid fellowship with the people of God because of the wounds and hurts that they bare. 

This is what the Lord would say to this people; these lost, wounded and scattered ones.  “I am raising up a Righteous Branch out of Zion who will rule and gather my people and my  flock.  I have never cast you off, nor have I abandoned you.  You are still the precious apple of my eye.  I send forth My love to capture your heart again, to dress your wounds and apply My healing salve.  You have been rejected, but not of Me.  You have been wounded, but only that I may bring forth your healing.  Now I would gather you and bring you back to My heart and My throne.  Be not fearful, but listen to the Spirit of My voice within you.  You are still My beloved and My redeemed.  My heart is for you and not against you.  Return unto me for I am bringing you back to the true Israel over which the King of Righteousness rules.  Come unto me and I will give you rest.  I will lead you beside the still waters and make you to lie down in green pastures.”

As surely as the Lord is bringing natural Israelites back to their land, so He is bringing the spiritual Israelites back to their place in Christ Jesus.    This is a day of restoration and healing for the people of God who have been wounded and hurt by those in the church.  Your true Shepherd is calling you back home.  He will heal you and restore you in righteousness and love for His namesake.  Come back now and dwell in the land of the righteous.

Blessings,

#kent

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